One Wisconsin Now is marking the 45th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act’s passage by calling on Senator John McCain to promote policies in the U.S. Senate that close the pay gap between women and men once and for all.
In April, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) skipped the vote on the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which would have restored workers’ ability to pursue pay discrimination claims in the courts and provided greater protection for women receiving unfair wages. McCain explained his opposition to the bill by saying that instead of equal pay protection, women simply needed ‘education and training.‘ He even told a 14-year-old girl that he didn’t think protections for equal pay would do’ anything to help the rights of women.’
The women and families of Wisconsin and the nation can’t afford McCain’s kind of costly inaction. In 2006, Wisconsin women’s wages were about 22 percent lower than men’s. That means a women working full-time in the state would earn around $28,000 per year, on average, compared with over $36,500 for a man. Earlier this year, Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) and Representative Christine Sinicki (D-Milwaukee) authored the Equal Pay Enforcement Act. It passed in the state Senate but continues to languish in the Wisconsin Assembly. It’s time for Senator McCain to set the tone for our nation and its state legislatures by making equitable wages for women a priority.